This I Believe

J - Beaverton, Oregon
Entered on September 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I Believe

From the moment I heard my first “bell” in school, I knew my life would never be the same. Little did I know this change would give me an unbelievable story. School is not always the easiest thing for everyone. Having a learning disability and ADD definitely did not make it any easier for me.

Grade school was a very rough time. I could not recite my ABC’s until almost third grade and that led to the special help I received in school. I was always much slower at learning than my other classmates. While they were reading chapter books, I was learning how to read the five page Bob Books that preschoolers read.

In third grade my parents and I had a meeting to discuss how school was going and my future academics. The school counselor, my special assistance teacher, my teacher, the principal and someone from the district attended the meeting. When I was present at the meeting, we talked about how I was doing in school. Then my special assistance teacher said it was time for me to go back to class. When I left, my parents heard a heart wrenching statement. The counselor told them that I was probably not going to make it in the “system” and that I would never make it in a mainstream class if I even made it to high school. My parents could not and would not believe this, so they began taking action. I started fourth grade at a new school in an ILC class (intensive learning center). This class was 12 kids and three teachers. In fifth grade I was moved back into a mainstream class with an IEP and passed my CIM tests that year without any need for backup work. I was maintaining good grades and succeeding. This success paved the way for a better academic future.

A couple years later my parents told me what the counselor had said in that meeting. Her statement alone was more inspirational than any success in the ILC class. I was determined to prove her wrong. I have remained mainstream with very little assistance from my IEP.

You always hear about that girl or boy who was an “A” student their whole life and have achieved so many goals and accomplishments. Now you have heard the story of a boy who, despite what the professionals believed, pressed on and used his drive for success and his will to win to prove to himself and others that he did not have a learning “disability”, but a learning “uniqueness.” Everyone deserves the right to learn, even when they do not fit the standard model.

I believe you don’t have to be the “A” student to achieve great things. It’s not about how smart you are or how wealthy your family is, but from your drive to achieve.